The Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Thorp) to the Turkish Ambassador (Erkin)

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to my recent conversation with His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mr. Necmeddin Sadak,1 during the course of which Mr. Sadak requested that the United States Government assist the Government of Turkey in bearing the burden of its national defense establishment by increasing the funds proposed for allocation under the Military Assistance Program by thirty million dollars, this amount to be utilized for items of current military consumption otherwise payable from the Turkish national budget.

As you and Mr. Sadak are aware, the President will soon propose formally to the Congress that the United States Government extend [Page 1658]military assistance to certain countries, including Turkey, during the coming Fiscal Year. The policy governing the extension of this aid, which has been developed along the lines of the existing Aid to Turkey Program, is that it should provide to the recipients capital items of military equipment which they could not otherwise purchase or produce for themselves.

The United States Government considers that the cost of consumable military goods such as those mentioned by Mr. Sadak in our conversation should be considered as part of the regular charges against the general resources of the state concerned and that any foreign assistance which may be needed in meeting those costs should be provided as part of a program for strengthening the economic position of the country as a whole rather than through a special military aid program. With the single temporary exception of Greece, this is the policy which the United States has been following and will continue to follow with respect to all other countries participating in the European Recovery Program. Where current expenditures for the maintenance and subsistence of the armed forces of these European nations have adversely affected their general economic and balance of payments position, this has been taken into account in calculating their economic assistance requirements under the European Recovery Program. It is believed that this basic policy is sound and that the needs presented by Mr. Sadak should be studied from this point of view.

Exclusive of the policy considerations outlined above, the Military Assistance Program presently under consideration by the Congress has reached a stage where it is impracticable for many reasons to incorporate in it any new items.

The established policy governing the Military Assistance Program and the impracticability of adding to the size of the program at this time should not be interpreted as meaning that the United States Government is unsympathetic to any real needs of the Turkish Government. The problem facing the Turkish Government, as set forth by Mr. Sadak, has been discussed with officials of the Economic Cooperation Administration, with the view to determining what assistance, if any, could be given by that Administration. While no commitment can be made, officials of that Administration have indicated their willingness to consider any new factors regarding Turkey’s economic situation which Turkey may desire to submit to the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, and through the OEEC to the Economic Cooperation Administration in Washington, which may make it possible for them to support an increase in the ECA allocation to Turkey.

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It is, therefore, suggested that Mr. Sadak may wish to arrange for the competent Turkish authorities to discuss the matter with the ECA representative in Turkey with a view to preparing a complete statement of facts which meets the necessarily exacting standards set by the OEEC and the ECA, to serve as a basis for a re-appraisal of Turkey’s economic situation by these agencies.

Accept [etc.]

Willard L. Thorp
  1. Regarding the conversation under reference here, see telegram 132, April 14, to Ankara, p. 1653.